The New York Jets are reducing the prices of about 18,000 personal seat licenses, including around 9,000 of which are unsold, by up to 50 percent beginning Friday in an effort to sell out the new Meadowlands Stadium by opening week.
Matt Higgins, the Jets' executive vice president for business operations, told The Associated Press that the cuts affect three sections of seats: lower end zone, lower sideline and mezzanine end zone.
"Our No. 1 goal all along was to sell out the stadium by opening day," Higgins said. "We believe the price cuts are aggressive."
The Jets open on Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Higgins said the team was sending an e-mail Friday to alert fans of the reduced prices in the $1.6 billion stadium. Lower end-zone seats will be dropped from $5,000 to $2,500, as will those in the mezzanine end zone. Seats in the lower-sideline section will be cut from $15,000 to $10,000.
"It dramatically changes the cost," Higgins said. "What we heard from a lot of fans was that they want to be in the building come opening day, but our lowest price point is just not affordable enough to get a lot of the fans back in who want to be in. So, when we looked at the options, we figured it makes sense to make these adjustments."
Fans who already purchased the 9,000 seats affected by the cuts will receive the reduced price.
"We think that's only fair," Higgins said. Last month, owner Woody Johnson told The AP he was confident the team would sell out the new stadium and avoid home games being blacked out by the time it plays Baltimore.
"We said a few weeks ago that there would be no blackouts and the reason why is we're going to do what it takes to sell out,"
Higgins said. "We think it makes a lot more sense to make the adjustments you need to do prior to opening day than after opening day, when the cameras are rolling and there are certain sections that aren't sold out."
Higgins said this is not a panic move by the team after perhaps overestimating the market and fans' wallets. The team made similar cuts to seats in the sideline corners a few months ago, and Higgins said those seats sold out within a few weeks.
Higgins also insists the PSL situation has no effect on the Jets' ability to sign several players looking for long-term deals, including All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold.
"PSLs can only be used to pay for the construction of the stadium, so it's two totally separate buckets of money," he said.
"One honestly has nothing to do with the other. That's a fact.
Also, it's hard to accuse Woody Johnson of not being willing to do whatever he needs to do and spend what he needs to spend in order to win. There's ample evidence of that."